Best way to back up photos in general?

My daughter lost her Canon EOS Rebel camera on a flight a couple of weeks ago - in fact we assumed it was stolen, because she could not figure out how it ever left her carryon bag, the bag was zipped up the entire time until she got home and when she opened it, it was gone. We filed a lost item form with Delta but knew it would never be returned. Miracle today, Delta sent an email saying we found what we are confident is your lost item, we’ll send it to you immediately.

OK - too long pre-ramble. What hurt her as much as losing the camera was a huge memory card of photos including some of a friend of hers who tragically passed away recently. She had not backed them up. The question now - what is the best way to back up all her photos? These are large files, BTW. And a LOT of photos. She doesn’t really trust just putting them on her computer.

She also doesn’t have a lot of money! So - recommendations?


How many photos and what’s the total size of the whole bunch? 1 memory card, so that’s probably less than 64GB I would guess?

I mean, cheapest would be to just have multiple copies on multiple computers/portable hard drives. I presume the idea is to store things online though. Be prepared for days/weeks long upload process since uplink speeds are generally junk.

If the set of things to be stored isn’t being constantly modified (which I wouldn’t think your case is, unless she’s constantly editing/saving/whatnot) and if quick retrieval is not an issue/can be done over a long period of time, Amazon Glacier probably is the cheapest way to go at 1 cent per GB (so you’re looking at $0.64/month), and there are software tools to manage that for you these days, though it still isn’t exactly the most user-friendly service (and you better make sure you understand what’s happening when you’re retrieving stuff or you will get murdered on those charges).

Crashplan is a pretty good option too. You actually don’t even need to pay for their online storage ($5/month) if you just feel safe with multiple devices backup. Just use it to manage the multitude of devices that get the backup files. It can use other computers you install crashplan on as a backup destination as well.

If you upload them, google photos is a great option with the best search functionality you can find. The recognition software is scary good, faces, place items, themes. Maybe my life so much easier since my photos are a mess. Now I can find all pictures of my cats, my baby, my wife or by places we visited.

Flickr provides 1 TB of storage for free.

Having just compared Google Photos and Flickr, I much prefer the latter. They both have similar functionality, but Google Photos (and Picasa) just didn’t gel with the way I like to do things. Flickr was much easier, and 1 Tb unlimited format is much better than Google’s 15 Gb unlimited format, although Google does allow unlimited space for photos up to 1080p (16 mp). But then I also found Flickr much easier when it comes to sharing. Google does allow you to use RAW though, although that’s going to require buying more storage space.

Have you tried the search functionality of Google photoez though? I swear, finding those old photoes of my wife and I in Paris by typing in paris was amazing. I will never ever organize my pictures again, since Google can find almost anything I can image. Although, it did freak my wife out because we typed wedding and it showed pictures of my future sister in law trying on her wedding dress. She did not want her brother seeing those pictures before the wedding.

My procedure is:
1 backup to crashplan
1 backup to a local archive hard drive
2 X backup to bluray discs

Might be overkill but I lost about 30 photos once and I never heard the end of it from the wife. So this is my procedure now.

End of an era-- Google Photos storage is no longer free at “high” quality. Previously uploaded media is exempted.


Time to use old Pixels as permanent upload devices.


Pixels get unlimited uploads of “high” quality photos still. They used to get unlimited full-quality uploads, but that is now dead too.

OG Pixels still get full quality iirc

I’ve still got a Smugmug account I never canceled, but have neglected. May be time for Google Takeout and a loooooong upload.

Due to limited storage I only use Google Photos for stuff I might actually want to share. Otherwise I treat them just like any other files that need to be backed up periodically.

As an FYI, Google takeout sucks, and is clunky. You get a billion separate .zip downloads of all your photos and videos. Further, the EXIF data of date and location is stripped from the images! They all show the date of export and the taken/modified date and they lose location data!

There’s a .json file in each batch and there are Internet utilities to restore the metadata to your images with tthe .json file, but a huge PITA.

I found a 3rd party app at that’s $25 bucks. The demo was simple, limited to 100 pics/videos. Just downloads everything to the folder you want, and retains all metadata. I might spring for it, since it’s already enough of a headache to switch photo hosts. Curious what everyone else is going to do w/ their photos. Start paying Google, use an alternate host, keep locally?

I’m torn between Smugmug, and OneDrive. The OneDrive family O365 plan is super cheap. $70/year if you have a corp discount and in addition to the Office apps, you get 1TB of OneDrive per person. That’s way more than enough for my cloud data and all my pics and videos. Smugmug is much nicer as a gallery to link to the family, but I don’t think they have any family plan, and a bit pricey for only images and one user account.

I’ve been a One-Drive user for a few years. I think most of my pictures are backed up on One-Drive, as well as my PC and google. I should probably double check all that though.

Throw the photos into the $6/month BackBlaze backup?

Doesn’t that work out to be 6 or 7 dollars more than Microsoft 365?

It’s only a suggestion if one is already subscribed to it for overall PC backup.

I used smugmug for years, happily, but Amazon is free for prime users with unlimited photo saving and so saved all that money and happy with it for sure.